How do I shorten a low-hanging light fixture?

Date:18 June 2014 Tags:, , ,

Q: We have a low-hanging light fixture over the kitchen table, and we’re constantly hitting our heads on it. How easy is it to shorten its chain and raise it up?

A: Pretty easy. First, turn off power at the mains; then, flip the switch to check that you’ve cut electricity to the fixture.

Gain access to the electrical box by removing the lock ring holding the canopy in place and sliding the assembly down the chain. Disconnect the wires and, while holding the fixture with one hand, use your free hand to loosen the chain retainer from the nipple. Pull the wires through and rest the fixture on the floor.

If the chain is light-gauge, you might be able to pry open a link. If it’s heavy gauge, you’ll have to cut it with a pair of bolt cutters. Next, shorten the light’s wires and reconnect them to the house’s wiring. Keep track of the conductors’ colour-coding to ensure that they match up as before. You’ll find it easier to work with another person who can hold up the fixture while you tighten the chain retainer on the nipple.